Cafe Au Go Go, at 152 Bleecker Street in New York City's Greenwich Village, was a critical venue for aspiring rock bands in the 1960s. Whatever the indisputable charms of the West Coast, the commercial and cultural capital of the United States has always been New York City, and bands had to make a good showing in New York if they expected to make it. Perhaps because the venue had no collectible poster art, the club has been somewhat unfairly left out of many rock chronicles, when in fact it played a crucial role in introducing new bands to New York City, and by extension to the whole country.
Thanks to my friend Marc, I have had an excellent list of performers at the Cafe Au Go Go from 1965 to 1969, when it closed. I was lacking much of a context, however, but now that I have discovered the excellent New York City site prosopography blog Its All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago, and its exceptional post on the Cafe Au Go Go, my performers list can be put into some kind of context. My goal for this series was to list all the rock performers at the Cafe Au Go Go from July 27, 1965 through late 1969, when the club closed.
As a footnote to all of this, however, Marc's fantastic research included performers from when the club opened on February 7, 1964 onwards. Although it is way out of my time period, I thought I would include the information on the performers for the first 16 months without comment, in the service of prosopographers everywhere.
Cafe Au Go Go Rock Performers List
Part I July 27, 1965-December 1965
Part II January 1966-June 1966
Part III July 1966-December 1966
Part IV January 1967-June 1967
Part V July 1967-December 1967
Part VI January 1968-June 1968
Part VII July 1968-December 1968
Part VIII January 1969-June 1969
Part IX-July 1969-October 1969
Cafe Au Go Go Performers List February 1964-July 1965
February 7-March 15, 1964 Professor Irwin Corey
March 17-22, 1964 Grecco & Willard, "Vikings Three"
March 25-29, 1964 Josh White Jr.
March 31-April 7, 1964 Lenny Bruce, Shawn Phillips, Tony Hendra & Nic Ullet
Lenny Bruce was arrested before the 10m show on the 3td and again on the 7th for obscenity.
Writer Tony Hendra may be best known as manager Ian Faith in the movie This Is Spinal Tap.
April 10-11, 1964 Lionel Shepard
April 13-19, 1964 Prof Irwin Corey, Tony Hendra & Nic Ullett
April 21-May 3, 1964 Jimmy Witherspoon & Coleridge Parkinson Trio
May 8-31, 1964 Stan Getz w/Astrud Gilberto, Adam Keefe, George Carlin, Sema Marcus, w/Ben Webster on May 26-28.
The show on May 22 was recorded for the Getz a Go Go lp.
June 2-12, 1964 Bob Gibson, Jose Feliciano, George Carlin
June 14, 1964 Benny Powell Quartet
June 16-July 12, 1964 Mort Sahl
July 14-25, 1964 Vaughn Meader w/ Reynolds, Eduardo Sasson
July 27-August 4, 1964 George Carlin, Tobi Reynolds, Eduardo Sasson
Mon nights Ed McCurdy’s Hootenanny
August 5-30, 1964 Vaughn Meader
September 1-27, 1964 Bill Evans Trio, Nancy Harrow, George Carlin
Sepember 29-October 18, 1964 Bill Evans Trio, Oscar Brown Jr. (Stan Getz on 6th)
October 20-November 8, 1964 Vaugn Meader’s The Populace with Renee’ Taylor
Originally they were scheduled for November 20-31 as well, but seem to have been replaced by other artists.
November 9, 1964 Alison Knowles (performance artist)
November 12, 1964 Anita Sheer, Adam Keefe, Lydia Wood
November 14, 1964 Alison Knowles (performance artist)
November 17-22, 1964 Muddy Waters featuring Otis Spann
November 24-29, 1964 Olatunji
December 1-6, 1964 ClaraWard Singers, Olatunji
December 8-31, 1964 Oscar Brown Jr. with Floyd Morris Trio
January 21-24, 1965 Shunna Pillay, Dave Astor, Olatunji
January 25, 1965 Monday Night Letter
A series of happenings events and music presenting the works or Emmett Williams
January 26-28, 1965 Shunna Pillay, George Carlin
January 29-30, 1965 Shunna Pillay, George Carlin, Olatunji
January 31-February 6, 1965 Shunna Pillay, George Carlin
February 7, 1965 Coleman Hawkins, John Coats Jr.
February 8-18, 1965 Shunna Pillay, Olatunji
February 19-22, 1965 Woody Herman and his Swinging Herd, The Bomb and Swing
February 25-March 1, 1965 Shunna Pillay
March 2-7, 1965 Shunna Pillay and The Legend of Charlie Parker with Jim Mendehall, Paula Shaw and others
March 14, 1965 A Tribute to the Memory of Charlie Parker w/Jackie McClean, Hank Mobley, Le Konitz, Joe Henderson, Fredde Hubbard, Walter Davis Jr., Lucky Thompson and others.
March 24-31, 1965 Lord Burgess
April 1-4, 1965 Lord Burgess, Olatunji
April 5-11, 1965 Lord Burgess, The Au Go Go Singers
Apparently the Au Go Go Singers still included Stephen Stills or Richie Furay at this point,although I think they left soon after.
April 15-17, 1965 Chico Hamilton
April 21-25, 1965 Stan Getz
April 27-May 30, 1965 Max Roach, Abby Lincoln
June 16-23, 1965 Monti Rock III with Lester Young
June 23-30, 1965 Monti Rock III with Richard Pryor and Lester Young
July 3-10, 1965 Ian and Sylvia
July 13-19, 1965 Bob Gibson
July 20-25, 1965 Bob Gibson, John Lee Hooker
for the beginning of the Cafe Au Go Go rock's booking, on July 27, 1965, see here